An SNP MP who defected to the Tories has claimed she and her family have been forced to go into hiding as a result of threats of violence.
Speaking for the first time since the announcement that she had left the SNP to join the Conservatives, Dr Lisa Cameron claimed she had to move out of her home after she was threatened with being “bricked in the street”.
Dr Cameron told the The Times newspaper she had experienced a “torrent of abuse” in emails following news of her defection broke on Thursday.
The Times reported some of the threats she received included: “I hope someone throws a brick at you in the street”; “I hope you burn”; and “Think your mental health is bad now — wait until you see what abuse and nastiness you’re going to have to put up with”.
Dr Cameron told the newspaper the threats were “where the political discourse has got to in Scotland”.
She said: “We have had a lot of personal threats.
“Aggression, violence and anger are coupled on to the debate about nationalism.”
Dr Cameron left the SNP ahead of a selection meeting to pick the next candidate for the East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency.
The MP has represented the area since the 2015 general election when the SNP won a total of 56 seats out of 59 in Scotland.
Dr Cameron faced a challenge in her seat from SNP staffer Grant Costello, who was supported by both Scottish Government minister Christina McKelvie and current and former East Kilbride MSPs Collette Stevenson and Linda Fabiani.
The outcome of the selection was due to be announced on Thursday, hours after Dr Cameron revealed she would leave the party.
The former NHS clinical psychologist said she felt “isolated” within the SNP’s Westminster group and there was a lot of “fear and intimidation”.
Dr Cameron was prescribed anti-depressants and underwent counselling as a result of the treatment she claims to have received during her time within the party.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for Dr Cameron was when she defended the teenage victim of unwanted sexual advances from SNP MP Patrick Grady and said the treatment he received was “irreconcilable with my values”.
On choosing the Conservatives, Dr Cameron said she felt her views would not be welcomed in the Labour Party.
She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland.
She has also changed her view on independence and said she no longer felt the government was being run competently.
Dr Cameron’s claims have been dismissed by senior SNP figures, including president Mike Russell.
He told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Friday that her claims were “unsubstantiated”.
He said: “What the SNP needs to do is focus on the big issues in Scotland, not what seems to be a rather odd tantrum from somebody who was going to lose their nomination.”
The defection was also downplayed by First Minister and SNP leader Humza Yousaf.
He said constituents would be “deeply let down” by her actions and that she should “do the honourable thing” and stand down.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country